The Association of National Advertisers says the FBI has contacted its outside counsel to request cooperation of the trade association and its members in what it calls a "criminal investigation into media buying practices."
The probe, first reported by the Wall Street Journal in September, claimed Havas SA is one advertising company under scrutiny, citing people familiar with the situation. News of the investigation came after years of industry claims about non-transparent practices in the media-buying industry, including a bombshell 2016 report from the ANA that claimed cash rebates and other non-transparent practices were pervasive in the U.S. media-buying ecosystem.
ANA CEO Bob Liodice emailed a letter Wednesday morning to its 2,000-strong membership saying the FBI contacted Reed Smith, the ANA's outside counsel. In the letter ANA said that on advice of counsel it has agreed to "share information about potential next steps member companies can take with the FBI if they believe they have been victimized."